The Hansen Christmas Tree Farm is everything I love about Sacramento: accessible, homey, friendly, historic, winery-centric, full of character and full of green.
I heard about the farm from Georgina, a Hansen daughter I work with at Sac State. Georgina is a talented graphic designer, a tremendously delightful person and a veritable Sacramento historian. She gets about a million extra points at life for having a family Christmas tree farm. With a vista of vineyards.
Not only has her family grown and sold firs to families at Christmas for decades, but their home was once the old 19th century Placerville schoolhouse, Union School. Georgina’s mom, Joanne, showed me this photo taken of the students around the 1880s.
Below is a photo of the house today. Gail (Georgina’s sister) and Joanne kindly took me on a tour of the home and even agreed to this photo op. (I was just slightly spazzing out about exploring an old schoolhouse… on a Christmas tree farm… in wine country.)
We just missed Georgina at the farm, but before we left, we snagged the most awesome Christmas tree (as well as our annual Christmas card photo, which you will soon see). Oh, and when I say snagged, I absolutely positively definitely mean SAWED.
After taking our photos against a backdrop of lush evergreens, Gannon and I embarked on the quest for our yuletide fir. Bobbing and weaving through the boughs, we came upon our perfect pine. And our timing couldn’t have been better, as I sensed my indecision began to border on irritating.
You can’t blame me for taking forever to decide. The trees at the Hansen farm are different than any I’ve ever seen. Less pruned, these firs are naturally wild and simply stunning… like I’m finally seeing the un-Photoshopped version.
When we found our winner, we got to work with the handsaw. Notice that in my (fierce) two-handed sawing below, I’m not kneeling down. We cut the tree at waist height. See, another another fun fact about these trees is that, over the years, some have been cut in such a way that when the larger branches grow back, they begin growing out to the side – then up, towards the sun – creating multiple trunks on one tree. So it’s not unusual for one tree to have two or three trunks splitting around waist level, like ours. Even when we cut our portion of the tree down – at the perfect height for our living room – it still had plenty of greenery left.
After I handled the sawing – OK, Gannon helped, too – we hoofed the fir back up the hill. Back at camp, Gannon sliced a half-inch piece of the trunk that we’ll use as a tree ornament. (Fun tradition for you crafty kids out there.)
Joanne was kind enough to offer Gannon a vacant birdhouse to perch the trunk on for the wood cutting. He was using his foot. THANK YOU, JOANNE.
We also owe the Hansen ladies a huge thank you for their use of heavy duty nylon rope. Our city-folk twine snapped like a twig. Gail especially was a huge help affixing the tree atop my Jetta. ‘Twas truly a pleasure to meet them both.
En route home, we tootled cautiously down the 50 back to Sac. More than once, the hubs and I glanced at each other chuckling in slight disbelief that we had, in fact, just sawed down our own Christmas tree and, yes, we were that couple driving 45 mph down the highway with a fat fir on their car. It rocked.
It may just look like a lump of greens here, but stay tuned for the big reveal…